Preached at a Sunday Morning service
Paul posed some questions to the Galatian church. He asked who had bewitched them. He reminded them that truly the moral law is essential, but law-keeping cannot save us. There are deceivers everywhere, even to this day, and we must be in the Word to recognize false teaching. Abraham was called by God by His grace. The Jews of Paul's time looked to Abraham as an example. They viewed Genesis 17, concerning circumcision, as the heart of the law. Paul told them to go back to Genesis 15 and also 12, about God's grace to Abraham, His promises and His covenant. Paul reminded the Galatians that Abraham's salvation required no work on Abraham's part. Abraham was reckoned righteous before God made any of His promises to him. Paul reminded the church that the law brings a curse; it shows us our sin. We remember earlier that in Deuteronomy 27 Mt. Gerizim was the mount of blessing, and Mt. Ebal was the mount of curses. Mt. Ebal is the better place for us to remind us of the reality of our sin. We are told that God is revealed to all men in creation, and the man who rejects God is under the curse. Thus, salvation by obedience is not possible. The Holy Spirit makes us aware of our sin, leading us to salvation and sanctification. In vss. 6-8 of our passage, Paul reminds that Abraham was justified by faith, and that through him, all nations would be blessed, including gentile nations. The curse of sin was placed upon Jesus, who on our behalf satisfied the covenant of works broken by Adam and Eve. Paul asks, "Why would you seek something else to justify you?" Salvation has to be the work of God, and this fact gives all the glory to God and none to us. Remember that Christ is alive and is returning. Today is the day of salvation by grace through faith.
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Galatians 3:1–14 (Listen)
3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Leviticus 18:1–5 (Listen)
18:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.